View the collection
Last updated:7 June 2023
Geoscience Australia's public areas are open Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm, with the exception of public holidays. Over 700 of the most impressive specimens from the National Mineral & Fossil Collection are on display in the foyer. Admission is free, and there is free parking available on site.
Along with minerals and fossils, the foyer also features geoscience maps, interactive displays and historical scientific equipment. The public displays are designed for a self-guided tour experience.
Geoscience Australia hosts a Geological TimeWalk within the landscaped gardens that surround the building. It is a physical representation of geological time which leads you on a 1.1 kilometre journey through the Earth's 4600 million year history, and represents the evolution of the Earth from its formation through to the present day.
Since the TimeWalk's installation in 2009, large rock samples have been collected from around Australia and put on display at locations along the walk that reflect their age. Each rock has a story to tell, with geological, economic, environmental and/or cultural significance.
Lunar Touchstone Display
Touch a piece of the Moon!
As part of an international loan agreement with NASA, Geoscience Australia hosts the only lunar touchstone in the Southern Hemisphere, and 1 of only 11 around the world.
The sample on display is a piece of the original rock collected from the Moon during the 17th and final Apollo manned-mission in December 1972. The touchstone is on long-term loan and will be open to the public indefinitely.
This display is part of Canberra’s Moon Rock Trail to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission which is available for the public to take your own voyage of discovery to see, touch and walk on the Moon!
The five organisations part of the trail are: National Museum of Australia, Questacon, Geoscience Australia, Mount Stromlo Observatory and CSIRO Tidbinbilla (CDSCC).
Open to the public: Monday to Friday (excl public holidays), 9am to 5pm and will be available indefinitely.
Space Rocks at Geoscience Australia
The National Mineral and Fossil Collection at Geoscience Australia hosts over 100 space rocks in the collection with a small number on public display. In this short video our curator highlights some of them such as the lunar touchstone, Martian, and Georgetown (iron) meteorites whilst discussing the significance of these rocks, which are literally from ‘out of this world’.
Many of the specimens within the National Mineral & Fossil Collection have great scientific, historic, aesthetic, and social significance. To make the physical collection more easily accessible Geoscience Australia has collaborated with the Google Cultural Institute. This is enabling us to better showcase the collection-including some of our rare, fragile, and valuable specimens on the Google Arts and Culture online exhibit platform. As well as viewing the displays in 'Museum View' (using the StreetView technology) you can sort items in the online collection by popularity or colour.
Our current exhibits include:
- A.C.T Fossil Emblem
- Antarctica: what lies beneath
- Australian Meteorites
- Australian Opals
- Broken Hill: one of the largest lead-zinc-silver deposits
- Fluorescent Minerals
- Gems from the Safe
- The Georgetown (iron) meteorite
- Hot Rocks
- Identifying Minerals
- Minerals in Modern Technology
All our online collection items, exhibits, and 'museum views' of Geoscience Australia's public areas can be found on our online exhibits page.
Geoscience Australia's foyer contains many of the National Mineral and Fossil Collection's most impressive specimens. This area is open to the public and is suitable for self-guided tours.
We periodically offer behind-the-scenes tours of collection archives. These tours go for approximately two hours, and are suitable for children 10 years and older. A limited number of tours are offered during National Science Week in August, and Earth Science Week in October.
For reviews of Geoscience Australia tour experiences, please see TripAdvisor.